PENNDOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR 2016-17 IMPROVEMENTS UNDER MULTIMODAL
Harrisburg, PA – PennDOT announced today it will begin accepting applications on October 3, 2015, for funding transportation improvement projects under the Multimodal Transportation Fund.
“The fund allows us to assist communities with needed transportation improvements that otherwise may not move forward,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “This process represents an opportunity for worthwhile local projects to secure the support needed to come to fruition.”
PennDOT will evaluate the applications and make selections based on such criteria as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, the technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency, and operational sustainability.
The Multimodal Fund was created by Act 89, enacted in November 2013, Pennsylvania’s far-reaching transportation funding plan. The fund addresses
road and bridge projects. Also through the fund, transit, aviation, rail freight and pedestrian and bicycle modes obtained dedicated sources of funds for the first time, putting the modes on a firmer footing for future initiatives.
PennDOT has $40 million in grants available for fiscal year 2016-17. Applications are due by December 18, 2015. PennDOT expects to announce grant recipients early next year for the funding that becomes available in July 2016.
For more information about the program, visit www.penndot.gov and click on Multimodal Program under the “Projects & Programs” button.
In July, the Draft DVRPC Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for New Jersey (FY2016-2019) was put out for public comment. It layed out the transportation priorities for the four New Jersey counties in the Greater Philadelphia region. This was an opportunity for Circuit supporters to send a message to their elected officials to dedicate transportation funding for Circuit trails in Mercer, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.
The Circuit Coalition put out a call to action asking supporters to contact their county officials and ask that a "line item" for the Circuit be included in the Transportation Improvement Program.
By the August 10th deadline, 137 individuals from the general public with some on behalf of five advocacy groups submitted over 200 written comments on the Draft TIP via email on 214 different issues. 61% of those comments requested a new TIP project/line item for the Circuit.
On September 30th, the DVPRC Board approved the TIP without a line item for the Circuit. DVPRC and each of the four counties provided a response to the Circuit line item comments. The responses were as follows:
Agency Response by DVRPC: Thank you for your comment. DVRPC supports the development of a regional multi-use trail system. Improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities is important for those residents that use these modes to meet their daily needs, including travel to jobs and local errands. Creating an interconnected network of multi-use trails provides an alternative to motorized transportation. Improved local, non-motorized mobility promotes economic development and enhances quality of life. DVRPC included the Circuit in Connections 2040: Plan for Greater Philadelphia. This 750-mile interconnected regional multi-use trail network will provide for bicycle and pedestrian access across the region, complementing local investments in bike lanes, sidewalks, and similar infrastructure. Investments have been made in Circuit trails in all four New Jersey counties in DVRPC’s service area, and more are identified in New Jersey’s FY2016 Transportation Improvement Program. Though a Circuit-specific line item is not included in this TIP, DVRPC will continue to explore options for increasing investment in these important facilities.
Agency Response by Burlington County:
See attached letter for Burlington County's response to comments that request a new line item in the TIP for the construction of Circuit trails in the DVRPC region. Go to this link and scroll to p.27 to see Burlington County's letter
Agency Response by Camden County:
Camden County supports the development of an inner connected regional trail system and is currently using the TIP programs like Transportation Enhancements to improve trails and bike lanes within the County. Camden County uses local, county and federal resources to support all trail development throughout the County.
Agency Response by Gloucester County:
Thank you for your support. The County of Gloucester will continue to be an advocate for trail funding within Gloucester County. The County continues to push for funding the Circuit Trail system with the current ROW and Construction funding contained within the TIP for the extension of the Multi-Purpose Trail from its current terminus at Delsea Drive (Route 47) to Rowan University and to the Elk Township Recreational Park (which connects to the Elephant Swamp Trail and Salem County). We are actively looking at funding opportunities for the continuation of the Circuit Trail beyond Rowan University to existing facilities at Chestnut Branch Park and onward to Camden County’s Blackwood Trail. Branch trails are also being looked at for funding including connections to Washington Lake Park and James Atkinson Park.
Agency Response by Mercer County:
Mercer County values the enthusiasm and energy of our local biking and active recreation advocates. We do more by working together. In this spirit, in recent months, County staff have worked with municipal representatives on the Mercer County Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force, hosted by the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association, to identify current and future potential multi-purpose trail projects, especially those that tie into larger networks. Projects were prioritized for funding from sources that suited their stage of development, size, complexity, and so on, and County staff continue to advocate for those funds and add projects to the priority list. Different funding sources have different requirements and federal funds allocated in a TIP line item are the most onerous, for which only large projects executed by local governments are appropriate. State funds, also allocated through the TIP, are a little more flexible. Mercer County actively advocates for local trail projects under existing federal funding programs, including Transportation Alternatives, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, Safe Routes To Schools, Safe Routes To Transit, and other State DOT and DEP programs. For specific, construction-ready projects of appropriate size, the County will also support individual TIP actions. If a number of such projects arise in our work with trail partners in years to come, the County will consider advocating for an ongoing TIP line item. The County will also continue to make significant investments in trail, bike, and pedestrian facility development using County Open Space and highway and bridge capital programs. So, to our partners and enthusiastic advocates, thanks for watching, thanks for pushing, and let’s keep pushing in the same direction.
It’s the moment runners, cyclists and pedestrians have all been waiting for! The Manayunk Bridge will officially open as a pedestrian and bicycle trail connecting the Cynwyd Trail in Lower Merion to Manayunk and the Schuylkill River Trail on October 30. The bridge will serve as a key link in the Circuit Trails, a unique connection between the city and the suburbs, and a site for spectacular views of the river valley. Join us on October 30 at 11 a.m. to celebrate this major milestone and be one of the first people to cross the bridge. Be sure to join the Facebook event here for more information and updates.
During the month of October, the Circuit Coalition, PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR), and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) will host workshops in Chester, Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. The purpose of the workshops is to provide updates on Circuit Trail development in each County, discuss a range of current and on-going funding sources, and look at ways to further develop Circuit trails currently in the pipeline. Each Circuit Trails Workshops will be held from 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm on the designated day in each of the five counties.
These workshops will follow separate information sessions on the Transportation Alternatives Program (to be held from 2-3:30pm), which DVRPC and Pennsylvania Dept of Transportation will host to explain the upcoming competitive funding cycle for the TAP.
Registration for both the Circuit Trails Workshops and the TAP Information Sessions can be completed with the links below. You can register for either the information session or the workshop or both. There is no charge for either event.
Tuesday, October 20th – Philadelphia County
DVRPC Main Conference Room
190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Thursday, October 22nd – Delaware County
Media Courthouse – DelCo Room
201 West Front Street, Media, PA 19063
Monday, October 26th – Bucks County
Bucks County Planning Commission – 4th Floor Conference Room
1260 Almshouse Road, Doylestown, PA 18901
Tuesday, October 27th – Chester County
Chester County Planning Commission – GSC Room 149
601 Westtown Road, West Chester, PA 19382
Wednesday, October 28th – Montgomery County
Montgomery County Planning Commission – Montgomery Room
One Montgomery Plaza Building Suite 202
425 Swede Street, Norristown, PA 19401
Throw those helmets on, get on your bike and head out to two new trail openings this week!
Tomorrow is the opening of the Pennypack Trail Extension, being held at Welsh Road Trailhead at Route 63. The new, 2-mile stretch of the Pennypack Trail from the Welsh Road Trailhead to the Byberry Road Trailhead is one of the most scenic stretches of the entire trail.
Then, next Thursday is the opening of the on-road trails of the Camden Greenway. This marks the addition of 4.3 miles of separated bike lanes to Camden, making connections between existing trails along the Camden Waterfront, the Ben Franklin Bridge and North Camden
Don’t miss out on both of these significant milestones for the Circuit! Find more details on our events page here.
Hey friends, the Newtown community needs your help! On Tuesday, September 8 we invite you to join us at the Newtown Borough Council Meeting where the Newtown Borough will consider a resolution to support the Newtown Rail Trail. The proposed trail will extend from Newtown all the way to the Montgomery County line, spanning 8 miles. The new trail would provide important connections to Pennypack Trail, Neshaminy Creek Trail (planned), Tamenend Park, and Churchville Reservoir.
If you are a borough resident and can’t make the meeting in person, please consider sending an email to Newtown Borough council members to voice your support. Or if you happen to see a council member around town, please share with them your support in favor of the new trail.
Citizen support for this multi-use trail has been led by the Penn Tammany Greenway Coalition. We also want to give a special thanks to the Bucks County Planning Commission for their hard work moving this project forward and to the Bucks County commissioners for supporting the creation of new bike and hike trails in Bucks County.
We hope you can join us at the council meeting. Every bit of action helps connect the Circuit and move trail development in the region forward!
Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 7:00-9:00 p.m.
The Chancellor Center
30 North Chancellor St
On Saturday, members of Cadence Youth Cycling, including 14 youth 7 adults, will kick off a 3-day, 2-night biking and camping sojourn weekend along the Circuit.
This event is organized by Cadence Youth Cycling and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The purpose of the Sojourn is to explore a portion of the Circuit Trails, learn about local environmental organizations, watersheds, and have fun! will be attending this trip.
The ride will leave from Philadelphia, travel through Pottstown and stop for the night to camp in French Creek State Park. Eventually the group will go to Marsh Creek State Park, and travel back through Valley Forge to the Schuylkill River Trail.
Along the way, youth will be getting watershed education lessons from Tom McKeon of Rails-to-Trails and history lessons from one of the youth, Allen Williams, who’s done research and helped plan the route. Of the adults on the trip, three are bike mechanics and will be able to help if any bikes break down or need a tube change.
“My role has been to organize logistics for this trip, planning the route, making reservations, advising on lessons and activities for watershed topics, communicating with youth and parents, making sure all edges are smoothed over for a fun and happy time,” said Tom McKeon, Youth Engagement Coordinator at Rails-to-Trails.
“The idea for the sojourn trip came about when we brought the youth to Seattle for the Youth Bike Summit,” said Cy Maramangalam, Cadence Youth Cycling Program Manager. “At the bike summit, there were other organizations that had gone on bike tours with the youth and when our students saw that they said they wanted to bring that back to our region. And we were able to make it happen when we made the partnership with Rails-to-Trails.”
The 21 riders (14 youth 7 adults) will leave on Saturday, September 5 and return on Monday, September 7.
The community arts festival takes place in, on and above Philadelphia's Schuylkill River in East Fairmount Park Saturday, August 29, combining dance, art, boating, and love of the environment.
The event begins at 2:00 p.m. at Mander Recreation Center with a drum line processional that will lead the audience from the gateway of Fairmount Park to the Schuylkill River. The audience is then greeted with a panorama of different experiences: public boat rentals and paddling lessons in canoes, kayaks, and row boats; interactive art installations about the future of the park and the river; yoga, circus, fishing and storm water management demonstrations and classes; and four local food vendors and a beer garden from Sly Fox Brewing Company.
The finale performance at 5:30 p.m. is a multigenerational ensemble of 22 dancers using stand up paddleboards and the center of the river, while two aerialists descend from above the Strawberry Mansion Bridge for the perfect grand finale. After the performance, festivities continue until 8:00 p.m.
Guests can enjoy for free from the shore but tickets are available to be a part of the Invisible River experience on the river. Book a boating ticket in advance to watch the performances seated in a kayak, canoe, stand up paddle board or a row boat.
Also, if you can, be sure to ride your bike #onthecircuit to the performance. Hope to see you there!
Invisible River 2015
When: Saturday, August 29, 2:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: East Fairmount Park and Strawberry Mansion Bridge; Main festival site, 2200 Kelly Drive
Cost: From the shore, free; From a boat, $25 and up
More info: www.invisibleriver.org
Looking for an exciting outdoor challenge? Why not tackle a new challenge and support a great cause!
On September 12, runners and walkers are invited to enjoy the scenic cliff paths of the Boxers’ Trail in East Fairmont Park during the Boxers’ Trail 5K. Proceeds from the Boxers' Trail 5K benefit Mander Recreation Center in North Philadelphia, which organizes youth programs, including runs along the Boxers' Trail. Race Day registration is at 8:30 a.m. and the race begins at 9:30 a.m. Click Here to register.
Later this fall, experience views of Philadelphia unlike ever before during the Cooper-Norcross Run the Bridge Challenge on November 1! The 10K certified course begins at the base of the Ben Franklin Bridge on the New Jersey side, crosses the bridge, doubles back, takes you through the waterfront area and finishes in Campbell's Field. A two-mile bridge walk immediately follows the start of the run. Also available to runners and walkers is a Dedication Bib where $100 participants will have the opportunity to run or walk for a cause and each participant’s cause will be promoted on Run the Bridge’s Facebook page. Don’t want to leave the kiddos behind? During the race, an event for kids will simultaneously take place at Campbell's Field. Click here to register.
Last week, the Cadence Youth Cycling Cycle Squad signed up to attend City Hall for Lobby Day with three goals in mind: Get the mayor and City Councilmembers to listen to them regarding the Delaware Watershed, The Circuit, and a Vision Zero policy for Philadelphia. Students Coleman Milligan, Tamia Santiago, Sykheem Adams, Marlina Hardy, Joshua Walton, Krystal Philson, Taevon Oliver, and Allen Williams, then, were largely successful in their endeavors.
Throughout the day, students met with Mayor Michael Nutter, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and the staff of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown, to speak about the issues with which they were concerned. Among them: Wanting to make the roads safer, cleaning up the pot holes, cleaning up the roads, (sometimes broken glass will steer them into the middle of the road, students said). They also spoke about the ideas behind Vision Zero and advocated for that to the city’s leadership. Click here for the full story.
Last year's launch of the CyclePhilly smartphone application provided a valuable glimpse into the bicycling habits of Greater Philadelphia. From May to October 2014, hundreds of bicyclists used CyclePhilly to record thousands of trips, allowing DVRPC planners to see where people rode (to the closest intersection) and why. The app automatically mapped all of the routes, which can be broken down by trip purpose.
Check out the CyclePhilly 2014 data summary and stay tuned for information about exciting app updates that are in the works.
If you missed using the app last year, you have another chance to inform future bicycle infrastructure investments. Urban, suburban, and rural cyclists are all encouraged to participate. Simply download the CyclePhilly app today, press record, and go. Log a trip between now and October 2015 and you could win a GoPro camera!
Ride. Record. Reimagine your Routes with CyclePhilly at www.cyclephilly.org.
Summer vacation is in full swing, but troves of kids in the Philadelphia region aren’t putting learning on hold. Through watershed education programs on the Circuit, Philly students are connecting to their home turf in the get-your-hands-dirty kind of way.
Tom McKeon, youth engagement coordinator with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, is teaching watershed education curriculum to youth in the Philadelphia region. Working with a variety of partners, including the Asian Arts Initiative, Neighborhood Bike Works, Cadence Youth Cycling, Lloyd Hall Boathouse, TTF Watershed Partnership and the Wooden Boat Factory, allows McKeon’s brand of education to break from the mold. The groups he works with get a hands-on, real world experience, which allows education to be which allows outdoor education to be fun and memorable.
The Circuit’s access trails, such as Cobbs Creek Trail and Tacony Creek Trail have allowed McKeon to organize bike rides and hikes focused on local watershed topics. And because the connection to Philadelphia’s rivers and streams is such a central focus for many of the region’s residents, the on-trail watershed education is a no-brainer.
“Watersheds are important because their health impacts public and ecological health,” explains McKeon. “And the diversity of the Circuit makes these projects easy and fun,” says McKeon. “The Circuit really is the most effective way of running an outdoor program.”
Over the course of the summer, McKeon and his eager students share the wonders of benthic macro invertebrates, dig into issues like storm water runoff, and discuss the importance of healthy wetlands and riparian buffers. And the best part? The “lab,” “classroom” and “library” are all trailside.
For some students, the summer watershed education is the first introduction to the Circuit trails. It’s an assuming entrance point for youth in Philadelphia, and a taster of the incredible asset to which the region lays claim.
“I’ve seen how the Circuit is interwoven with Philadelphia culture,” explains McKeon. And the outreach that’s being done on the Circuit- by McKeon and others- that’s educating and inspiring the next generation of trail users.
Supporters of Circuit trails in New Jersey - Speak Up!
Are you fond of the Delaware and Raritan trail and can't wait to see it complete from Trenton to Bordentown? Do you use the Cooper River Trail but wish there was a seamless bike/ped trail between the Ben Franklin Bridge and Haddonfield? These are just a few of the many trails that are part of the Circuit in Mercer, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties that are awaiting funds for planning, design and construction.
Now, there is a major opportunity for Circuit supporters to send a message to their elected officials to dedicate transportation funding for Circuit trails in Mercer, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.
The Draft DVRPC Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for New Jersey (FY2016-2019) is out for public comment. It lays out the transportation priorities for the four New Jersey counties in the Greater Philadelphia region. The deadline for sending a comment is August 10th.
Please take a moment to contact your county freeholders to create a "line item" for Circuit Trails in the FY2016 TIP.
Thank you for taking action for the Circuit!
Later today, a ribbon-cutting will celebrate the completion of the Schuylkill Canal Towpath Restoration Project, a unique reconstruction of the historic canal towpath. The trail, located in the villages of Mont Clare and Port Providence in Upper Providence Township, serves as an extension of the Schuylkill River Trail and a key trail segment in the Circuit. This project, undertaken by Montgomery County, officially completes the Schuylkill River Trail from Philadelphia to Phoenixville, and provides a unique trail connection from Lock 60 and the Lock Tenders House to Montgomery County’s Upper Schuylkill Valley Park.
This 1.75-mile project, which includes the restoration of the Red Bridge, the installation of a 125-foot long pedestrian bridge, and the restoration of the towpath to its original width with reinforced embankments, is part of Montgomery County’s 10-mile Trail Expansion Program. Funding for the project was provided by Montgomery County, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and William Penn Foundation. This project marks another milestone in the completion of the Circuit!
WHEN: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: Red Bridge
Intersection of Canal Street and Port Providence Road in Upper Providence Township
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) released the first year of data from its permanent bicycle and pedestrian counters that have been placed on 11 trails around Greater Philadelphia. Thanks to generous support from the William Penn Foundation, the permanent counters enable the Commission to collect continuous volume data around The Circuit trails. The five trails with the highest combined bicycle and pedestrian volumes for a one-year period are:
The data collected by the permanent bicycle and pedestrian counters shows significant use of these regional transportation assets. DVRPC maintains one of the nation’s most widespread bicycle and pedestrian counting programs. The counters combine a passive infrared sensor, which detects body heat, with an inductive loop, which detects the metallic signature of bicycle wheels, to provide a count of pedestrian and cyclists, including their travel direction. This technology paves the way for the introduction in Philadelphia of real-time “bicycle barometers” that simultaneously collect data and encourage bicycle use due to their prominent visibility and digital displays.
Let's give DVPRC a shoutout!
As readers of this blog know, this past June 26th, the DVRPC Board voted unanimously to support the dedication of federal and private dollars toward 11 circuit trail segments in Pennsylvania. It approved a new “line item” for the Pennsylvania Transportation Improvement Program (AKA the PA TIP) that designates $5 million in federal transportation dollars for construction.
Take a moment to say a quick thank you to the Board members of DVRPC by clicking here to send an email.
1. Hydration is key - During these hot and humid summer days, drinking water is the simplest and most important tip of all. Runners should drink two cups of water prior to running and one cup of water every 30-minutes. Dehydration can have negative effects on performance and recovery, and poses a huge threat to one’s overall health. If you can, plan your exercise for the early morning or evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day.
2. Looking good = Feeling Good- Ever look at runners or cyclist in magazines and think to yourself, “their workout gear costs more than my entire wardrobe!”? Well yes, some top of the line gear could put a dent in your paycheck, BUT being too stingy with your workout gear can hurt you. I hate to say this, but toss aside your oversize college t-shirts and discounted sneakers and trade them in for appropriate apparel. Gear does matter for performance. Blisters, chafing, sweat build up, and joint problems are all common issues that arise from wearing improper workout gear. Stay away from cotton, avoid rough fabrics and make sure your shoes provide proper support. If you’re looking for new workout gear, make sure to check out North Wales Running Co and if you're looking for bike gear or repairs, there are several options for you including Breakaway Bikes, Bicycle Therapy and Fairmount Bicycles.
3. Stretch it out- Some of the most common injuries occur because people don’t stretch after a workout. Sometimes after a long bike or run all you want to do is sit down and relax, but relaxing can wait. Stretching helps reduce tightness and possible injuries. It is best to stretch for 10-15 minutes after a short warm up period and again at the end of a workout. Then you may fall to the ground and take a nap.
4. Team up for success- Working out regularly is not an easy task. Often times life gets in the way and forces us to pass on that run or bike we had planned. Finding a group of buddies to exercise with can help motivate you to get moving. Follow a beginning running plan that sets realistic goals for you and your group. Check out The Bicycle Club of Philadelphia or Philadelphia Runner for a list of biking/running groups and lessons in the area.
5. Don’t Overdo It- We all want to be able to run or bike miles at a time without feeling like we are going to pass out. Don’t worry, you will one day! But first stick to a solid, comfortable pace and don’t do too much, too soon. By building up to your goal slowly, you will save yourself a lot of frustration and pain in the long run (pun intended).
Over the past 10 years it has become a lot easier to to obtain bike, walk or transit travel information thanks to a plethora of web and phone applications such as Google Maps, The Transit App and Ride the City. However where those applications fall short is when you need multimodal directions. A common scenario is that you get off the Market Frankford El but your next connecting bus is in a half hour. And then when you reach your stop, you then have to walk 5 blocks to your final destination.
GoPhillyGo essentially takes Google Directions to the next level. The app not only allows you to get multimodal directions with own bike, but you can also find out if Indego bike share is available for your trip. Or maybe you just want to find great places to go. GoPhillyGo includes completed Circuit trails and can produce a coverage map for up to 2 hours of travel time.
In May 2015, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia conducted a public opinion survey across all nine counties of the Delaware Valley. The survey aimed to gather an understanding of the general population’s awareness of the Circuit and the level of demand for more trails in the region.
The survey found high levels of support for trails in the region. Overall, 85 percent support building more trails in their counties. Furthermore, 70 percent were in favor of spending $2 per person in public dollars annually to pay for new miles of trails.
Sixty percent of respondents said they would like to have access to a trail, or more trails within 10 minutes of their homes. Of respondents under the age of 45, that level of support rose to 72 percent.